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Our Shrinking World

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Our Shrinking World

Published 1946
Topics Globalization

How developments in transportation and communication are hastening globalization.

Run time 10:19
Producer Young America Films, Inc.
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Shows the development of transportation and communication, and the resultant bringing together of the world.
Ken Smith sez: This is a classic postwar one-world film. It opens with stock footage of hundreds of Chinese laborers using human power to build an airfield "out of the same ancient stones, mud and water with which their ancestors once built a land barrier so that they could live in isolation!" The narrator then informs us that distance once had the power to "keep peoples apart," but that "today, with the achievements of modern science," such concepts are hopelessly out of date. Television, for example, will soon be "bringing all parts of the earth as close together as our living room." The advent of "the air age," we are told, "means that all the peoples of the world are neighbors, with new responsibilities."
"Modern communications may be used to establish a friendly WORLD community!" he exclaims, cheerfully. "Modern transportation may be used to carry understanding and friendship to all nations!" But this film is still warming up.
Next, we're treated to a montage of washing machines on an assembly line and bananas being unloaded from a freighter. "International trade makes it possible for the valued products of every land land to be enjoyed by all!" the narrator proclaims, though the inherent American advantage of a bananas-for-washing machines trade is not addressed. We're then shown big rig trucks and scale models of streamlined cars of the future while we're informed that expressways will soon circle the globe, to the benefit of all, of course. "We have broadened our horizons," the narrator insists, "and the end is not yet in sight!"
Finally, in a stirring conclusion, the narrator reminds us "It is within the power of all of us to bring about a better way of life for people of all races and nationalities. Our goal must be mutual trust, mutual understanding and mutual respect, so that our most distant friends will know how to live with us, and we with them, in one family of nations, on this shrinking world!"
Ending with this text scrolling across the screen:
"This is the story of how transportation and communications have helped to shrink our world. It is such a big story that we can only tell you part of it. Your teacher will help you learn more about it."
This film has many brief and astounding shots from diverse geographical locations seeking to educate its viewers concerning the importance of understanding and maintaining "one nation of man". Shots are occasionally repeated, but the unifying image is of a shrinking rotating globe.

Amazing footage of many Chinese workers using hand held tools to chisel stones and the strength of about a hundred boys to pull one large cement-type roller to construct,
"Yes, a real highway. An air field. Packed of the same kind of ancient stones, mud and water with which their ancestors once built a land barrier so that they could live in isolation."
Air shot of THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA, shot of wall winding through the hills.
Globe with modeling, shot with Africa largest in view, and Europe distorted (curtain behind globe) slowly rotating
Dramatically lit waving night sea
mountains, desert, forest with lake in foreground, jungle palm trees, African tribes people carrying jugs on their heads, Asian children riding in baskets, American Indian people riding horses down a hill, camels with packs, donkeys with packs in snowy mountainous region, oxen pulling carts with men riding, men hand constructing canoe-type boats, sailboats in the ocean, Spanish royalty and "Columbus'" ships arriving from shore, Magellan -- 1519 and ship double exposure over rotating globe image, Globe image dissolves into smaller globe image with diameter of old globe remaining, stagecoaches and covered wagons,
women in corsets and bonnets climbing off multi-leveled grand stagecoach type steam wagon
crowded early steam train
Map of the U.S. animated line marking the progress of the steam railroad line
steamboats, close-up of paddle wheel
close-up of hand tapping out Morse code
woman enthusiastically speaking on early telephone apparatus (and chewing gum?)
telephone wires
Globe with former larger dimensions remaining, dissolved with telephone wires, steam train and text: "NELLY BLY -- 1899"
Shot from above steering wheel of early gasoline engine automobile
original newsreel film from 1903, Wright Bros.
Wireless -- Telephone -- 1902, slow pan up very tall antenna tower "Communications took giant strides. With the perfection of wireless telephone, voices could be sent vast distances without wires. The peoples of the world were coming ever closer together. At a faster and faster pace, modern inventions were helping man to extend his control over space and time. "
Orchestra in television studio, two studio cameramen with dollies, orchestra on tiny oval edged monitor with slight silhouettes of audience observing it in the dark
Woman climbing into small jet
Passengers climbing up outside staircase to board airline
Men loading mailbags into jet from underside, woman with clipboard pushing cart of mail
Jets with propellers, army jet planes, doing sky flips
Shot from back, three telephone operators in polka dot dresses at switchboard
Double exposure of orchestra with flickering text, "WHK, WHL, KLO, etc." superimposed to demonstrate international ability of broadcasting
Shot of front of "Streamliner"(?) train shot from front, moving through the hillside
Rotating models of "cars of the future"
Greyhound bus
Assembly line shots: many woman workers, phonograph assembly (?), washers moving down belt, cans being packed, sides of beef, bananas on belt, children in relay race, children climbing up slide, people in pool, crowd of children raising their hands towards the camera.



Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - December 30, 2003
Subject: Whirl Whizz Beep Click
Not bad overview of how inventions made our lives easier. Although of course, it seems to skip over some inventions (steam power? The assembly line?) it provides a seamless timeline to some inventions which were nevertheless important. Heck, it even gives a frightening look into the 'future'. Gee, I don't see any of those cars on the street today..
Reviewer: Steve Nordby - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 30, 2003
Subject: "All parts of the Earth as close as our living room"
Good basic coverage of the history of speed increases in transportation, and later, communication, that make it seem that the world is shrinking. The few seconds of "cars of the future" pictures are worth the download! Ends with a plea for trust, understanding, and respect between the peoples of the world.
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